Using Shapes in Designing
How do you feel about shapes in your design? Which ones do you prefer to use? Turns out, there is more to shapes than meets the eye. Lots more actually. It’s often that every shape has its own personality, and brands use this idea when designing their logo and various visuals. You can tell a story just by the seemingly insignificant parts of your design. So it’s true when they say, “A picture speaks a thousand words.”
Shapes are not just squares, circles and polygons. There are actually 3 kinds of shapes come in three kinds:
- Geometric Shapes
- Organic Shapes
- Abstract Shapes
Geometric shapes are, well, geometric, and contain the commonly used shapes in designing such as squares, circles, triangles etc. Organic shapes are all the natural shapes we see around us, such as the shape of a tree, a flower or a cat. Abstract shapes are not present in reality, and instead can be created by advanced designing such as spirals, and complex three-dimensional shapes.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll discuss only geometric shapes, and their significance in designing. By the end of this article, you’ll get a better idea of:
- The theory behind using shapes in designing.
- Visually presenting your brand effectively.
- Conveying feelings through design.
The Meaning of Shapes
Circles are whole, with no start and finish. They depict eternity, wholeness and historically have been attributed to celestial bodies because of the shapes of the sun, stars and planets. The circle’s curves are seen as feminine, suggesting warmness, comfort and love. The circle also integrates and confines everything within, providing a sense of community.
Circles have therefore been used in advertisements that either bring together community, or are related to women. Some examples are: a beauty salon flyer, a book fair ad, a job fair flyer, festival flyers or a holiday sale ad. Because of the curvy nature of circles, circles also coupled with cursive fonts, but there is no fixed rule. At the end of the day, use whatever balances good aesthetic with function. A beautiful poster is of no use if the audience can’t find any value out of it.
Rectangles (and squares) are one of the most commonly used shapes, as they are associated with the familiar. They also depict solidarity, security, toughness, and equality. They are commonly used in corporate designs, as squares are simple shapes, hence act as good support for the important element (the text). They are not meant to grab attention, but merely to add an aesthetic to the design.
Rectangles (and squares) are used in most categories of poster design for marketing. Some of the most common design options include sales, invitations, small business flyers, event flyers, corporate flyers, brochures and pamphlets.
The triangle has always been associated with religion and spirituality, owing to the 3 sides corresponding to the Holy Trinity. The triangle can be stable or unstable, depending on what side it lies on. Hence, it represents a certain dynamic aspect absent in the other shapes. Triangle also shows a sense of direction, as seen in arrowheads. This presents ambition, action and progression. An upright triangle represents elevation and ascension. Traditionally all these qualities have been deemed as masculine.
Triangles are frequently used in logo designs, such as Adidas, Google Drive and Mitsubishi motors. Triangles are frequently used by sports brands, gyms, corporations entrepreneurs and innovators in their visual content.
Using Shapes With Examples
We dealt with the basic properties of shapes, and established that each shape can create a different effect and mood to your design. We’ve taken some examples of good shape usage from the PosterMyWall Gallery for your use. Just click on any of the examples below and start customizing:
We’ve also added new SVG file support for the poster maker, so you can now freely upload your own vectors and shapes into the Poster Maker. Just upload the .svg format file from the Add from My Photos button.
As an additional resource, to understand how intersecting elements may be used to improve your designs, visit this guide by our friends at Coastal Creative and learn more about design trends for 2018.
If you found this article useful, and are passionate about designing, you can create and sell your own designs created at PosterMyWall as templates. Simply join the Design Community, and your work will become available to millions of users for purchase.